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Mills & Rusco Canvas Products - Question


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#1 Sig

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 06:32 PM

I am fairly sure Mills was the first maker of Thompson canvas products back in 1921 or thereabouts.
My curiousity lies with when Rusco began producing the same.
Anyone have any idea?
Any source of this information would be great if you knew that as well.
michael
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#2 The Moor

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 03:21 AM

It appears that the Russell Manufacturing Company marked their canvas manufactured items with the word Russell (inside a circle) back in the late 1900s and early 1920s. I have several belts and pouches (not associated with the Thompson) with this marking and all are dated in the late teens and early twenties. I have never seen any canvas items for the Thompson with this marking.
I have seen Thompson canvas carrying cases, XX magazine pouches and L drum pouches with the marking RUSCO (which is the same company) and was told that they used this marking in the 1930s. Some (not all) of the mag and drum pouches are a light OD green instead of the familar yellow/straw color. I have never seen any with the RUSCO marking that had a date marking.
I have a couple of web belts, XX Thompson mag pouches, a L drum pouch, and a couple XXX Thompson mag pouches marked R.M.Co (same company) and dated from 1940 to 1944. Some of the items are the tan color, others are a mix of tan and light OD, and some are all light OD color.
This leads me to believe that the RUSCO marked canvas items were made for commercial sale in the late 1920s through the late 1930s. There are also some unmarked pouches and gun cases of the same weave and color as the RUSCO marked pouches and cases. The unmarked gun cases that I have seen were the yellow/straw color but the pouches were the light OD color.
It appears that the very early military canvas items were marked Russell (in a circle) with a date and the WWII era military canvas items were marked R.M.Co with a date.
I'm sure that there is a more exacting explanation of the dates that the Russell Manufacturing Company used the various markings. There exists a lot more information on the "little details" of Thompson gear and accessories that has not been published (original A.O. documents, letters, etc.) . Hopefully the gentlemen with this information will share (in a new book or other publication) with all of us in the future.
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#3 Sig

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Posted 21 May 2004 - 03:43 AM

The Moor
Wonderful thanks for the information
michael
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#4 Sig

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 08:36 PM

Rusco made a C drum pouch which makes me wonder why they would be doing that in the 30's.
Doesn't seem to make sense why a drum that had been sold out since at least 1923 would have a canvas maker making pouches for sold out product.
The Moor I appreciate your input but now I am even more curious.
thanks
michael
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#5 The Moor

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 06:53 AM

I know the feeling. I am very curious as to why there is no mention in any of the catalogs or sale literature (that I have seen) of a canvas spare parts kit. These were also made by Mills and RUSCO. I suspect that there is documentation that will provide an answer to a lot of Thompson curiosities. I just wish the people that own these documents would share a lot more of the information a lot sooner. We get a few tid bits every now and again by way of periodicals or casual phone conversations.

Anyway, I saw a Marine purchase requistion (In American Thunder) where they were requistioning some Thompson and accessories in early 1940. Included in this requistion is 8 C drums and 8 drum pouches for the C drum. It appears that Russell Manufacturing had a relationship with the USMC as nearly all of the USMC marked pouches are made by R.M.Co. The C drum pouches marked RUSCO could have been made in the mid to late 1920s all the way up to around 1940. Are you sure that all of the C drums were sold out by 1923? It seems odd to me that the Corp would requistion an item in 1940 that had not been available since 1923.

I guess if we knew all of the answers it wouldn't be as much fun as it is.
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#6 Sig

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 05:48 PM

The Moor
Check out my website and the 1923 flyer, clearly the C drums are marked sold out.
Your observations on getting information are right on, it is out there some where.
I would love to see a scan of that purchase requisition.
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#7 The Moor

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 08:51 AM

Maybe one of the guys here has both a scanner and a copy of "American Thunder". If so, could you scan the page that shows the Marine Corp requisition that I referred to above? I foget the exact page number.
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